i love dunedin (i do)
OK, so it is terribly embarrassing that in my (very) late forties I have only just made it as far as Dunedin. And it took being invited to iD Fashion Week to finally get down there.I was traveling with the lovely Julie Roulston (who writes for the Dom Post) and as we were driving into Dunedin (in a beautiful old Jag no less), she leaned over to me and told me that she was convinced I was going to absolutely love Dunedin. About five seconds later I saw the most beautiful old house set in amongst an old established garden, and that was it. I was in love. No-one needed to explain the view as you come into Dunedin, or the gorgeous old houses or the fact that this is actually how Auckland should look. Old, cared for building (that at some point we Aucklanders knocked down) are everywhere in Dunedin. No-one is in a hurry, and you can walk just about everywhere in the town itself. I can see why it is such a perfect university city. I just wish it wasn’t so far away from Auckland, otherwise I would visit on a monthly basis!
I also had no idea about Dunedin’s fashion pedigree. I thought I did, but actually I didn’t. I had no idea that the store I had only read about (but dearly wanted to visit), Margi’s Robertson’s PLUME (now in George St) actually opened in 1975. And that her label NOM*d started in 1986. I always thought it was the other way round – that the label came first followed by the store. I stand completely corrected. Dunedin-ites have a great sense of style. They have a real affinity with the dark and deconstructed (obviously) but they mess it up the unexpected. An all black look is given an edge with a pair of 80’s brown lace up ankle boots (opshop obviously). A beautiful silk velvet floor length jacket (that has obviously been worn for a great many years by the original owner in immaculate condition) is worn with something from Dunedin based label Mild-Red. Everyone feels very comfortable in their own skin. But the thing that struck me most of all, was how many older women wore it all so well in Dunedin. I might have to move down there. They have it sorted.
I got to visit some of the stores I have only read about – but my first stop had to be PLUME. Filled with bright stunning artwork and antiques of the ‘found’ variety, I could have spent a day just wandering around looking at all the labels. I loved the design and layout of the store as well. I could have lived it in basically. With international labels Rick Owens, Comme De Garcon, Doc Marten and Bernard Willhelm as well as New Zealand deconstructed staples of Zambesi, Jimmy D, Workshop with of course, NOM*d. Find them at 310 George Street Dunedin, of NOM*D go to nomdstore and watch out for PLUME online store going live soon.
Sara Munro’s Company of Strangers is the store of a prolific designer. Not content to design just her own Company of Strangers label – she also has the Strange Love label as well as Company of Strangers Jewellery and also leather bags. Her store (also on George St) is full to bursting of her designs. She recently collaborated with Chaos and Harmony on the Schielle Boot with its fantastic wedge and wrapped ankle detail. I first saw them at NZFW last year and have coveted a pair since then. I got to be down in Dunedin for the launch of the collab, and the store was filled to brim with Dunedin’s fashion fantastic (as well as a few from Auckland to round out the numbers). Find them at 320 George Street Dunedin or at Company Of Strangers
Dunedin also is home to Slick Willy’s which stocks Lela Jacobs, Juliette Hogan, Blak and Blak Basics to name a few of their vast label collection. It is well worth a visit! Find them at 323 George Street, Dunedin or at Slick Willys
Charmaine Reveley has her shop on the other side of the road from Plume (that George Street is a busy fashion avenue) with her pretty classics – a store full of pinks and navys at present with a good dollop of dunedin-ite black. We popped into her store and were very taken with the gorgeous flowers – which say much about her attention to detail. As with all the stores we visited in Dunedin, the service was impeccable – personal, immediate and thoughtful. I think Auckland could take a few cues from that… Charmaine Revelley is at 263A George St Dunedin or Charmaine Reveley
The last place we managed to visit was Salisbury Boutique. Run by the enthusiastic Sheryl McPherson (who is an Archeologist by trade no less) and ably assisted by Megan Bond, this store is deceptive when you first step inside. It looks like a another clothing store but in fact it is not. Almost every label in the store is new. Sheryl takes on new labels as they emerge into the New Zealand market, rather than waiting for them to be tested first. With labels like Mardle, Wilson Trollope (said trol-O-p) – who showed at iD fashion week, as did Sheryl White’s Highnoontea, Millicent and Beau amongst many others. Committed to New Zealand made, and with an extensive range of jewellery and print art – there is much to choose from. She currently has pieces of tapestry from iD International Emerging Designer 2014 Hannah Heslop who hand finished a lot of her collection. I took home one of the pieces as they were just beautiful. You can find Salisbury Boutique at 104 Bond St Dunedin or Salisbury Boutique